Hurricane Irma: Folks who fled now sweating how they’ll get back home

Leslie Gray Streeter
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Michelle Gerson of Boynton Beach was already planning to visit her daughter in New York when she left Friday, but she hadn’t expected to stay so long — “My flight was canceled for (Tuesday) into West Palm Beach, so I’m coming back on Friday.”

But in this case, she didn’t mind so much, because she had a chance to spend a few more days with her daughter, and because she knew that her Golden Retriever Chase was safely boarded at Very Important Paws (VIP), a dog daycare, spa and hotel in West Palm Beach.

“He’s in really good hands. He’s a very chill dog,” Gerson says. “I saw people trying to get on flights with their pets (ahead of the storm) and they couldn’t because they were too big. He’s huge so I’d never try to fly with them. He likes the water anyway. He’d probably have liked to go stand outside.”

VIP co-founder and owner Will Corrente says staff posted more than 30 photos of dogs currently in their care, some of “whose parents couldn’t get back,” so that they knew “they were in good hands.” He and others stayed in the building with a total of 100 dogs, running the facility by generator, “because we weren’t just going to lock the door and leave them.”